New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485-1603 by Susan Brigden

A pretty good account of what has to me always seemed like the most exciting and inspiring era of English history. There was a lot more discussion of Irish history than I looked for in a book about Tudor England, and there was almost no discussion at all of the cultural achievements of the Renaissance, but the religious tensions and conflicts of the time were thoroughly covered, and this seems to have been the chief theme of this work. Goethe’s Faust was for some reason heavily discussed, even though Goethe was not English and was not a Renaissance figure. Much attention was also given to court intrigue; like most such histories it is rather top-heavy in its focus on the upper classes. The “New Worlds” the title refers to seem to characterize the religious reformation rather than the actual New World; most enterprising Englishman at that time apparently thought of North America as little more than a potential pirate base from which to attack Spanish America. Yet England lives on; God save the Queen.

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